MUNDANE MYSTERIES: Why Are They Called “Bobby Pins”?

When someone needs to keep their hair in place (or they need to try & pick a lock at the spur of the moment), they’ll often reach for a bobby pin. But why are they called bobby pins in the first place? Did someone named Bobby have anything to do with their creation?

Well, no…not really. Bobby pins got their name from the bob hairstyle trend that was popular in the early 1900s. At the time, women typically sported longer hair. But when dancer Irene Castle opted for a shorter cut, her fans followed suit. But a lot of beauty salons actually refused to cut their female clients’ hair that short, which meant many women had to go to barbers. (Hair salons eventually relented as the style persisted well into the 1920s.) The style, by the way, was named the “Castle bob” for a while (in honor of the woman who made the style popular), but eventually shortened to become just “the bob.” And to keep the hair fixed in place, special hair clips were often used. And those hair clips became known as bobby pins.

Got a Mundane Mystery you’d like solved? Send me an email at [email protected].